Kidney disease caused Noynoy Aquino’s death at 61, family confirms

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Former Philippine President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III died of kidney failure due to diabetes, his family confirmed on Thursday. (SOURCE: Noynoy Aquino | Facebook)

Former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III died in the early hours of Thursday, June 24, his family confirmed. He was 61.

His sister, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, said in a statement before reporters that Aquino had died “peacefully in his sleep” at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.

“No words can express how broken our hearts are, and how long it would take for us to accept the reality that he is gone. Mission accomplished, Noy. Be happy with Dad and Mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had the privilege to have had you as our brother. We will miss you forever Noy,” Aquino-Abellada said.

Aquino-Abellada said his brother will only be released from the Capitol Medical Centre in Quezon City where he was rushed early Thursday only after completing a Covid-19 swab test.

Multiple Philippine government officials have already extended condolences to the Aquino family since news of his death broke. Harry Roque, spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, and Vice President Leni Robredo also offered their condolences.

Born on February 8, 1960, Aquino is the only son among the five children of two Philippine democracy icons: assassinated senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino. His father was a staunch critic of dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos and was killed upon return from exile in 1988, with the death catapulting his mother’s presidency.

His political career began in the House of Representatives in 1998, serving three terms as a congressman for the province of Tarlac. Aquino was able to secure a seat in the Philippine Senate in 2007.

After the death of his mother in August 2009, the public urged him to run for president in the 2010 presidential elections, where he beat five other presidential bets with over 15 million votes.

During his six-year presidency, the Philippines economy grew to an average of 6.2%, the fastest the Southeast Asian country has seen since the 1970s.

His administration also brought China to an international tribunal in 2013 to challenge Beijing’s nine-dash maritime claim over the majority of the South China Sea, after a standoff in Scarborough Shoal between Philippine and Chinese forces the year before.

Weeks after Aquino stepped down as president, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines and invalidating China’s claims. Beijing, however, ignored the ruling.

Aquino was criticised for alleged negligence during the Manila hostage crisis that led to the deaths of eight Hongkongers, dampening relations between the two jurisdictions. His administration also drew flak for lacking accountability on the deaths of 44 police commandos in pursuit of a Malaysian terrorist in Mamasapano in Mindanao, and the slow response to casualties of Supertyphoon Haiyan which ravaged central Philippines and killed more than 6,000 people.

This story was updated to clarify the headline.